Island Safety


Golf Cart Safety

You must have a valid driver's license to operate a golf cart on Bald Head Island.

There are numerous injuries each year as a result from golf cart related incidents. There have been several fatalities from individuals falling off golf carts. To put things in perspective; it is no different than driving your car or truck 18 mph down a road near your home and then opening your car door and falling out onto the roadway. Fractured bones, soft tissue injuries, and head injuries are common injuries from this type of incident.

The majority of the golf cart related injuries on Bald Head Island are a result from an occupant falling out of the cart. They start and stop very abruptly and turn very sharply. It is difficult for passengers, especially rear-facing passengers, to anticipate turns and changes in speed. Ensure that passengers are holding on to the grab rails or other solid surface on the cart before performing any sudden movements. Children should not be in the lap of the driver, as they can impede the driver's ability to maneuver the golf cart. Packages should be secured to the cart, not held by passengers. Again, passenger's hands should be free to hold onto the grab rails.   Whenever possible, use hand signals when turning or stopping. This will aid others in knowing your intentions.  Please remember golf carts are not toys and enjoy you visit to Bald Head Island.

Think of the same laws when you drive your car on the mainland.  Violation of laws or ordinances will result law enforcement action, up to and including going to jail.

Here are just a few of the laws and ordinances designed to keep you safe while enjoying your trip to Bald Head Island:

open alcoholic beverage containers are prohibited in golf carts;

the speed limit is enforced (18 mph);

careless or reckless driving is prohibited;

driving while intoxicated (alcohol or drugs) is not tolerated;

 

 

Bicycles/Scooters

Bicycling across the island can be a wonderful experience. But please remember that the roadways are shared with golf carts, cars and small trucks, and large shipping trucks. The roadways are quaint and edged with vegetation. Please wear your helmet to help protect your head and brain from injury in the event you have an accident. You should also wear brightly colored clothing for higher visibility, both day and night.

Local laws and ordinances requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear a helmet while on a bicycle, scooter (motorized or non-motorized), roller blades, or similar means of transportation. These rules are in place to reduce the chances and seriousness of potential head and facial injuries.

More On:

Bicycle Helmets: http://www.bhsi.org/

 

Wildlife

There is an abundance of wildlife on the island, ranging from small insects to large alligators and deer. Wildlife should be observed from a distance, and not approached or handled. Even the tamest appearing animal can become hostile when it perceives a threat. Sick and injured birds, raccoons, and other animals should be avoided and if observed the Public Safety Department should be contacted with approximate location at 457-5252. Please remember that these animals should not be approached or touched.

Animals can also carry rabies or other diseases that can cross over to the human population resulting in sickness and sometimes even death. You should always contact the Public Safety Department to report a sick or injured animal.

 

Bald Head Island is also home to the American Alligator. The animals should never be approached as they are wild animals.

NEVER feed an alligator for several reasons;

•  They may mistake you for food,

•  They can become too desensitized to humans, which could result in closer contact with humans and possible attacks.

•  A $500.00 fine will be issued to anyone found feeding or harassing alligators, deer, raccoons, opossums, foxes or otters.

 

Sea Turtles frequent the shores of Bald Head Island and are a federally protected species. It is unlawful to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect sea turtle hatchings, eggs or adult turtles. Violating the law regarding this federally protected species can include up to a $100,000.00 fine and/or up to one (1) year in jail.

Please visit The Conservancy for guided tours to view island wildlife. This is the safest and most preferred method to view wildlife while learning about their lifestyles and history.

More on:

BHI-Conservancy: http://www.bhic.org/

Alligators: http://nc-es.fws.gov/reptile/alligat.html

Loggerhead Turtles: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/species/turtles/loggerhead.html

Satellite Tracking of Sea Turtles: http://www.seaturtle.org/

Beach/Ocean Safety

The beach and ocean are a wonderful place to relax, bath in the sun, and play games in the sand. However, the ocean is also a very powerful force than can turn a good vacation into a devastating nightmare. Please remember that ocean currents and waves can change rapidly and the threat of dangerous rip currents is ever present risk.

Here are a few tips while at the beach:

-Never swim or be on the beach during storms, especially since they pose a lightning risk.

-Pay attention to the number of the Beach Access that you take when traveling to the beach and familiarize yourself with the closest 911 Emergency Telephone Box- they are located at may of the beach access entrances.

-Apply adequate sunscreen, according to the manufactures directions, to reduce the chance of sever sunburn and risk of skin cancer.

-Alcohols and/or drugs are a bad combination with swimming.

-Always swim with a friend, never swim alone.

-Always stay within a safe distance of the shore.

-Stay alert for jellyfish and other aquatic life.

-Be alert and try to avoid swimming in areas where people are fishing.

 

Military ordinances occasional wash, up or are uncovered by erosion, on our beaches.  This includes cannon balls from years past and modern day ordinances.  If you seen any objects such as these then please call 911 immediately so the Public Safety Department can investigate.  DO NOT TOUCH THEM as they could detonate and injure or kill you.

 

Stay clear of the sand dunes and the groins (large sandbags that reduce beach erosion).  There is a $500 fine for walking on either of these very important structures.

 

More on:

Rip Currents: http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/

Weather Safety: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/safety.php

 

Fire

Please remember that fires can be catastrophic on an isolated island such as Bald Head. The Village has an Open Burning Ordinance that prohibits open fires without a permit issued from the Fire Chief. Open fires include camp fires, luminaries or other type of fireworks, and any other open flames with the exception of LP gas grills, and other cooking appliances. Please be aware that Cooking appliances/grills, other than LP gas, must be at least ten (10) feet away from any building or deck while in use. A $500.00 fine will be issued to anyone that violates this ordinance.

Please observe these tips regarding fire safety:

-Never throw cigarettes, cigars, or other items onto the ground, as they may cause grass or brush fires. This is also considered littering.

-Make sure your charcoal grill is sturdy to reduce the chance of it being knocked over on accident or being tipped over from strong winds. A charcoal grill must be at least ten (10) feet away from any building or deck while in use.

-Have your fireplace chimney's inspected and serviced per the manufacturer's recommendations,

-Have you LP-gas fireplace logs inspected and serviced per the manufacturer's recommendations.

Knox Box: A Knox Box is a small steel box that is attached to your home or business and holds a key and information sheet. This box has a secure key, and the only persons with access are the on-duty fire personnel. The Knox Box affords the Fire-Rescue personnel access to your home or business in the event of fire alarm activation. We must gain access to determine if the alarm is a false alarm or not. If there is no one around to let us in the home we may need to enter through a locked window or door, and this could cause damage to the home or business. The costs of those damages can be expensive and are the responsibility of the property owner. These boxes can be purchased through the Knox Company, by completing the required paperwork. Save the expense of replacing a window or door and call the Fire Department at 457-4310 for application information.

Fire-Rescue Department Link

 

Medical/Health

In the event of an emergency always dial 911 . The Fire Department has two paramedics on-duty 24 hours a day and they can respond much quicker when dispatched through the 911 call center.

The Fire-Rescue Department has a great program in place that allows residents, workers, and frequent visitors to file their pertinent medical information along with a 12-Lead ECG on the "first out" ambulance. These files are kept in a secure box in the ambulance and can only be accessed by the Chief and on-duty staff. Staff could access the information in the unfortunate event of a medical incident or traumatic injury. The 12-Lead ECG is provided at no charge and is performed at the Fire Department. This procedure provides a "base-line" ECG tracing that can be used for comparison with future ECG tracing. This important medical information can be very useful in the determination of an acute cardiac event or if the patient is too distraught, or unable to communicate their medical history, allergies, etc.

In the event of a serious medical or traumatic event which surpasses the capabilities of local hospitals, Airlink (a medical helicopter service) can be requested by the Fire-Rescue staff, and will respond if available.  This helicopter service saves valuable time in transporting a patient to New Hanover Medical Center in Wilmington, NC, where trauma and cardiac services are available.

The Fire Department welcomes anyone that wants to come by and meet the fire-medics, look at our fire and rescue apparatus, or get a tour of the station.

Fire-Rescue Department Link

 

Emergency Management

Disasters and events, either natural or manmade, are a concern everywhere.  The Village Emergency Management staff monitors for such things and respond accordingly.  Hurricanes and other tropical disturbances frequent the east coast each year.  All residents should be prepared to evacuate as directed by the Emergency Management team and also have contingency plans in place in the event evacuation is not a viable option.  A listing of disaster supplies you should have on hand is available at Ready America.

We utilize a all-call phone dialing system that can call all homes and commercial phones on the island.  This system is utilized to notify residents, visitors, and island workers of emergency situations such as pending hurricanes, evacuation notices, problems with utilities, etc.  A brief message will begin when you answer your phone, or when your answering machine picks up.

We post our inclement weather status, to include evacuation status, at Current Status.

More on Emergency Management on Bald Head Island.

 

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